As one year closes and another begins anew, we always find ourselves reflecting. Looking back… and, looking forward.
We, of course, hope that any unpleasantness is left far behind in the old year and that we will have bestowed upon us a bounty of blessings in the new year.
2014 was a wonderful year in many personal aspects and I truly hope that 2015 will only bring more joy.
It was a year, along with many in the past, that held sorrows from loss. Deaths of loved ones, lost friendships, missed opportunities, and the pain of burdens carried. This past year brought about challenges, both difficult and empowering. It created growth and enlightenment in many areas. The year was full of changes that were both scary and exhilarating at the same time. Sadness and joy were at every corner. Choices were made with the best intentions at heart.
And, I have to say… I think we did okay.
In fact, under the circumstances and starting from little to nothing, I feel that we did more than okay. Much more than okay. We still have so far to go, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in 2014. So while in many ways I see the year as a disaster worldwide, personally, I’m putting it in the win column for us.
We became more financially stable, to a degree. Is anything ever really stable? I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to more easily meet the needs of our family and to randomly be able to help others in various ways. That’s very important to us. Obviously, providing for our family comes first, but it’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to do a little something for someone in need. We’ve been there. We know what it means for someone to reach out, even when the last thing you WANT to do is take from others. We’ve had NOTHING so we really do understand the blessing of receiving, no matter how small. Being wealthy is nowhere in the cards, but getting by is so much easier these days and I’m so thankful for that. It’s a very peaceful feeling and I’m grateful. Besides, our wealth comes from much more than just our bank account.
Our relationship is stronger than ever. Our love is deeper than I’ve ever felt. We work together to make things happen. We share the same beliefs, faith, and dreams. We encourage each other. We lean on each other. We keep each other grounded. And, we enjoy each other. We keep no secrets from one another and it’s easy to trust each other. One’s fear is the other’s confidence. One’s weakness is the other’s strength. We fit together perfectly. We have an ease with each other that neither of us has ever experienced with anyone before. We don’t argue, we discuss. To be truthful, I’m not sure we ever REALLY even get mad at each other. We learn from each other and we share every emotion and experience we encounter. Separately, we are flawed and unraveled. Together… we are one perfect love.
Our family is doing well, even when encountering setbacks. To be honest, I think our biggest complaint at the moment is being in such a tiny home and not having anywhere close to enough space for all of us and the things we need. I love this street (dirt road), mainly because there’s so few people living on it and we’re surrounded on three sides by wooded areas. Our neighbors are all in front of us. And, they’re good neighbors. It’s a quiet neighborhood with friendly people. And, it’s very comforting knowing that Zac has a “second family” with his best friend right across the street from us. A few streets up and over is a local pharmacy that has a basketball hoop that the kids play at. Dairy Queen, Huddle House, and the convenient store are close enough for the kids to walk to. (Because, you know, allowances burn holes if left in the pockets too long.) There’s room in most yards for them to play football. The boys camp, hunt, and hike in the woods all around us. There is only one middle school and high school in the entire county, and since we’re in the county seat, they’re close by. Everyone seems to be deeply rooted here and it’s fun learning everyone’s connections to each other.
We live “in town”, but we’re still very much in the “country”. And, it’s great. We’re close to all the little stores, local bank, post office, etc. But, neighbors have chickens that roam freely and visit house to house. (Which is cool as long as they’re not eating the cats’ food.) We have room for our dogs to run and play and roll around in the grass. The cats enjoy hunting squirrels and birds. Rabbits and deer are spotted on a regular basis throughout the year. During the summer, we get to enjoy crickets serenading and lightnin’ bugs glowing in the night. During the winter, the sound of the trains passing less than a block from us to the east echoes even louder through the crisp air. We have to drive at least 30 miles to get to any type of store or restaurant of size, but it’s a straight shot and no traffic. Even in the bigger towns closest to us, the biggest traffic jams are laughable compared to driving in Tampa at the least busiest times of day.
There’s really only one major goal for us to achieve.
Our dream is to one day own some of the land next to us to build a farm. We’d love to have a big farmhouse with a fishing pond, barn, workshop, animals, swimming pond or pool, gardens of vegetables and flowers, a football field for the boys to practice, and lots of woods for ATV’s, dirt bikes, hunting, and camping, a kitchen big enough for cooking large family meals, and a wrap-around porch to take in all the beauty of country living. We’d love to be able to raise enough food to help our neighbors near and far. We’d love to rescue animals. We’d love to help out our little community in every way possible. This would be a place that our family and friends would always feel welcomed and at home. Yes, this is a BIG dream. But, the crazy thing about dreams is you just never know when they may come true. Until then, we’ll just keep moving forward and working to make it happen.
So… what I choose to take with me from 2014 is hope. Hope that we will continue to thrive. Hope that our love will continue to grow. Hope that our generosity is allowed to increase. Hope that we continue to make friends. Hope that we’re able to do more and more for our family and those we hold dear.
Hope that we will, one day, make our dream come true. Together.